Experiencing a two-in-one internship
Experiencing a two-in-one internship
Alson Kong joined the Bank through STEM@OCBC, which is a structured credit-bearing internship custom designed for students in the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Besides relishing his early career experiences, Alson loves learning to cook new dishes at home and café hopping with his wife.
Hello, I’m Alson. I joined the STEM@OCBC internship programme in May 2021. In fact, I was privileged to be in the pioneering batch of interns.
Twin appeal of STEM@OCBC
I first learned about STEM@OCBC through the OCBC career portal and their Facebook Page. The internship had two unique features that immediately appealed to me.
First, it is designed for students in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Interns are given exposure to how the Bank leverages data and technology to build business insights and digital solutions to solve business issues. At that time, I was studying Computer Science at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) specialising in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence so this programme fit the bill on that front.
The second unique feature that appealed to me was that I would experience two placements in different departments within the Bank over one internship period. That was brilliant on two counts. First, I got to apply what I learned in a corporate environment and second, having exposure to two placements gave me a better idea of the direction I wanted my career to take after graduation.
Of course, STEM@OCBC being a credit-bearing internship was the icing on an already appealing cake!
The two experiences
My first rotation was as a Data Analyst at Project Management Office under the Group Operations & Technology (GO&T) division. I gathered data sets from different departments and cleaned the data to generate useful insights. I was also tasked with using data to create a functioning dashboard via Power BI.
My second rotation was as a Product Owner at FRANK by OCBC. I developed end-to-end capabilities for a new banking application. I managed the development through sprints by working with Scrum Master, Business Analyst, designers and the engineering team.
After my internship, I joined one of the above teams. Can you guess which one? I’ll tell you later!
Key takeaways from the internship
From the entire STEM@OCBC programme, including the two rotations, I experienced working on projects using the agile methodology. I also gained invaluable soft skills such as learning to communicate better and managing my time more effectively. I learned to appreciate the importance of teamwork which is necessary to deliver results effectively.
Guiding my career choice
Self-awareness of my strengths and weaknesses grew after my two rotations. I realised what I was good at and what I enjoyed. These revelations gave me a clear idea of where I would thrive and perhaps the jobs I should avoid. The internship was very useful in guiding my choice of the career path I wished to embark upon.
After I graduated from NTU in December 2021, I’m happy to say that I joined OCBC Bank as a full-time Product Manager in the FRANK team.
My advice to students considering STEM@OCBC
It’s a fantastic internship. You will gain great exposure to various business units which other internships may not provide. That said, you will have to climb a steep learning curve when you join the programme, but on the other hand, you will also learn a lot of different skills quickly. Putting into practice what you have learned in school allows you to know what you like and dislike. It’s revelatory and it will give you a brilliant head start in your career.
If using your knowledge to make the banking world better excites you and gets you fired up, then don’t hesitate joining STEM@OCBC. This internship is made for you!